‘This Is Why’ succeeds but only partially



Paramore singer Hayley Williams performs during When We Were Young music festival at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on Oct. 23, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal / TNS)

Paul Becker, Staff Writer

Paramore recently released their sixth studio album on Feb. 10, and it certainly speaks to the band’s future 20 years in. Hayley Williams’ potent choppy and velvety vocals are joined by previous bandmates Zac Farro and Taylor York. The entirety of the album is driven by the anger of atrocities of the current global situation, and even Williams’ past of teenage success leaks through into the foundation as she peers through her built-up enclosure. It is the principle to know that the revised sound of Paramore is attempting to pursue the sounds of their youth, but with constraints and decisions that do not always triumph.
Pandemic isolation and the categorized norm of “numb consumption” stimulated the creative process of the album, for one. Williams told The Guardian, “Some days I feel so over it, almost to the point of apathy. But that’s the struggle—that you must fight.” The album instigates a conversation about a certain loop that can be best described as a fierce battle between the status quo and the limitation of oneself. “Just like a stray animal, I keep feeding scraps / I give it my energy / And it keeps on coming back,” Williams sings in “You First.” And it is the possible conclusion that eventually may lead to atrophy that strengthened Paramore’s intentions. Consequently, does this looming glow of atrophy attempt to eradicate the fundamental principles of life’s purpose?
Throughout the album, that question is what can be obviously pointed to as its driving message. But Paramore’s methods of attack seem quite elementary. In the track “Big Man, Little Dignity,” Williams fails to uniquely describe her undeniable emotion: “No offense to you / You got no integrity,” and in the second verse, “I memorized all your lies / I can’t look away, you’re like a movie that I love to hate.” Perhaps these lines are a nod to a person of Williams’ appeal, but the colloquialism has multiple interpretations; and the one with the likeliest sting is media portrayal, if derived and connected from the themes of the album. Tracks “This Is Why” and “The News” further explore the media, misinformation, dangerous opinions and war. The opening lines of “This Is Why” go as follows: “If you have an opinion / Maybe you should shove it / Or maybe you could scream it / Might be best to keep it / To yourself.” Regarding the boldness of Paramore’s lyrics in this track, one cannot overlook the perfunctory and one-dimensional infuriation that Williams and co. possess over the duration of the album. Moreover, stressing anger and outrage with idiosyncrasies can prove to be efficient and effective.
To conclude, “This Is Why” accommodates several anthemic tracks such as “Running Out Of Time,” “Big Man, Little Dignity” and “The News.” Yet the album only begins to repair and form its identity within the latter half. And it is the recognition of human mistakes that feed through the messy structure of governing bodies and societies that one truly obtains wisdom. Paramore unquestionably succeeded in supplying their message, that atrophy can be reversed if excuses are not the criterion, though the album would be more worthwhile if not for the commonplace mannerisms and forgotten emotion.